Weekly news from Caroline Ansell
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Welcome to my weekly newsletter!

Happy Saturday, e news friends! 

I keep redefining a 'busy week' and this week has been no exception - I'm writing to you now having just got back form an early bird meeting of the Save The DGH campaign. I was really pleased to clarify at that meeting the '£100m' for Eastbourne & Hastings that bobbed up at PMQs last week is in fact a signpost to a potentially far greater investment in our local hospital trust!  This £100m is not for our hospital trust alone but is early money allocated across 21 different hospital trusts across the country to work up plans. Those plans could deliver a serious investment far far greater than this £100m pot. There is a huge opportunity for us and I will be working closely with hospital leaders and ministers in the months to come. 

Since last I wrote, I've held my second Beacon advice surgery and my fourth appointment surgery at The Town Hall. I've met with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on business rates, industry bosses of Network Rail and Govia on services and future plans.  From the halls of Westminster I've called the Chief Operating Officer at our CCG about my concerns on their proposal to close the Station walk-in medical centre (which also has a GP list a good few thousand long).  You can find the link to the walk-in consultation here:

Please do take a moment to complete.  Home-side, I've met with pavement campaigner, Marie Hennelly and Waspi champion Angela Boas.  This is a flavour o their reach and range, not a comprehensive listing! 

I've also moved in to my new Westminster Office this week! Last parliament I had a fantastic view of The London Eye but was a full two buildings from the House of Commons itself - it was a challenging sprint when the bell to vote rang and the eight minute clock started to tick! This time, I find myself two floors up from the Chamber! Joy! It's tiny but has the luxury of a window and shared with maybe only a mouse or two! I'm amongst quite distinguished ministerial company too on this corridor; one asked if my office move was an early reshuffle sign - haha, I don't think so! 
From House to Home 

No one left behind is my political DNA and there is be no doubt this government is committed to levelling up for those who are disadvantaged by income, job prospects, health services, education and geography.
There are challenges to address an historic north south divide, not to mention climate change, but it’s clear the Prime Minister is not leaving the south behind either in infrastructure, or in help for those who need it.
In just a few short days councils in East Sussex, including Eastbourne, have received a new £1.5 million allocation to tackle rough sleeping. Money is being put into specialist help for those with  mental health problems and investment in more beds.
The government has also reaffirmed seed money to work up plans for improved hospital facilities at DGH and Conquest – an eventual multi-million investment that will benefit Eastbourne greatly.
This is welcome but it must be paid for and recently science minister Chris Skidmore made a speech showing there is a strategic vision to achieve this.
Research and development (R&D) might not trip off the tongue but investment in it will reap rewards for Eastbourne and the UK and pay for our future hospitals and schools.
In short, we have committed to doubling the public R&D budget over the next five years with an ambition to spend 2.4% of GDP on R&D by 2027 through both public and private initiatives.
In the speech the minister said this: “Our future lies in those cutting-edge ideas, advanced technologies and rewarding new jobs that will power our economy and transform our society.
Mirroring that national ambition to level up our country, I am committed to levelling up our town. Life expectancy changes as you drive from one end to another. Key to this is more skilled, well-paid jobs and behind that, building skills and raising ambitions.  I was delighted to attend ‘I Can’ last month, a careers event held in Eastbourne for young people with learning needs and disabilities from across the county. It reflected a whole new world of possibilities and R &D has inspired many of these new open doors.
Much the government does rightly hits the headlines but sadly this strong advance on R&D didn't, and it’s important. I have highlighted it in my column this week to show this government is serious about its One Nation agenda and serious about UK future prosperity as a way of funding our public services and offering opportunity to all.

Barclays Bank Branch Closure at Langney Shopping Centre Visit 

I had a great Saturday afternoon at Langney Shopping Centre last Saturday and it was fantastic to see the new Langney Shopping Centre take shape and talk to centre staff, business owners and community store volunteers.  While I was there, I couldn’t resist the cream doughnut, thank you, Windmills! If not before - and I'm told new store, Home Bargains, has brought serious new footfall - I'll be back at the Centre for one of my advice surgeries in March. 

That the post office is coming soon is a saving grace but the closure of the Centre's Barclays branch is a blow. The bank states that 81% of their customers now bank online but on behalf of the 19% Barclays customers who don’t, I spoke directly to their Director this a week from Westminster about the future and how they were going to make sure, essentially, that no one is left behind. I will have further talks this week


 Eden project 
This is a very exciting prospect and I look forward to working with this world-class and internationally renowned environmental project.
I believe Eastbourne is an ideal place for the Eden Project to be involved. We have wonderful natural resources on both land and sea and such a partnership will add tremendously to our plans to protect and enhance our natural environment for generations to come.

Exciting times ahead! (It doesn't involve domes, I should add!) 
Our Great Green Ambition 
Regular e newsers will know that Eastbourne has set itself the ambition to be a Carbon Neutral town by 2030. They was an excellent launch event and one of the tools showcased there was an online survey by the WWF for you to calculate your carbon footprint. You can do your here:

Want to get more involved or find out more? You can do that here:

I'm meeting with the Marine Conservation Society to advance the campaign to reestablish our sea kelp too - that vast underwater forest that has tremendous capacity for carbon capture.      
And finally...

So as I close, I’m off now to watch my son play hockey. I’m looking forward to the summer months and no mistake! Please do make sure everything at your home is bolted down today ahead of the forecast 80mph winds to hit Sussex on Sunday.
Take care and with my very best,


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